Ivan Basso has responded to comments made by his teammate Roman Kreuziger, who said he would be upset had Basso raced the Tour de France in the same Liquigas team.
"He doesn't understand that I'm a very serious professional. I didn't have the Tour in my programme, but if I was there I'd have no problem in helping him," Basso told Cyclingnews.
Liquigas took Kreuziger and Vincenzo Nibali to the Tour de France as captains, as was planned at the beginning of the year. Basso finished fifth in the Giro d'Italia in May and is currently training for the year's third Grand Tour, the Vuelta a España.
"He will win a Tour soon" – Basso on Kreuziger
"I think we made clear at the start of the season that Nibali and I would go there as captains. ... Put it this way, I would not be very happy if Basso came to the Tour," Kreuziger told Procycling magazine in early May.
"It's not great to read that a teammate says these kind of things," said Basso. "I don't have any problem working for younger teammates."
Kreuziger is 15th overall, 1:31 back, after five days of racing at the Tour de France. He placed seventh in the opening time trial in Monaco and Liquigas performed well in the team time trail Tuesday.
Basso won the 2006 Giro d'Italia and finished second (2005) and third (2004) at the Tour de France when he raced for CSC.
"I have always raced in teams with talented riders. When you are in a big team you have to learn how to live with other champions. If I see Nibali or Kreuziger are going strong, I don't see why I shouldn't do something help them – this is professionalism."
Kreuziger, 23, won the Tour de Romandie this year and finished third in the Tour de Suisse. Last year he won the Tour de Suisse and finished 12th overall in his first Tour de France.
"He will win a Tour soon," said Basso. "He has shown to have class above the others. He is right there with riders like Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck."
Basso refused to say if he would race the Tour de France in 2010. He is concentrating on the three-week Vuelta a España, where he hopes to win or at least place higher then his fifth spot at the Giro d'Italia.